Having an outdoor kitchen offers you a new kind of freedom. If you’ve ever watched cooking shows and seen people grilling in their backyard, you probably wanted to do it as well. A great idea is to learn how to build an outdoor kitchen with metal studs by yourself. It may sound rather intimidating, but believe us, it’s not. Today we are going to look at the steps you need to take to have your own.
How to Build an Outdoor Kitchen with Metal Studs
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1. Consider Buying One
Even though this is not one of the most difficult DIY garden projects, it may require some investment and effort. Whether we are talking about time and money, you need to work a little for it. As such, the first step in how to build an outdoor kitchen with metal studs is to ask yourself if you want to do it. Obviously, there are plenty of options available on the market, but they don’t offer you the originality of building your own kitchen.
2. Make the Plan
This is an important step you shouldn’t skip. Before getting down to building it, you should have a solid plan for your outdoor kitchen. The first thing you need to write down is the exact dimensions of everything you want to include in your kitchen, such as drawers, sink, doors, grills, fridge, etc. For this reason, you should have a complete and clear image of the result even before you start building it. One easy way to do it is to check the catalogs offered by various hardware suppliers. Usually, there you will find a couple of sets of dimensions for each hardware.
A golden rule is to ask someone to look over your plan. You may think you don’t need this, but it is very likely you do. A fresh eye can notice any possible errors, which is essential before you start building. If you are using a contractor for the building process, they will offer you valuable tips regarding your blueprint.
3. Get the Right Tools
Another thing you need to check before getting down to business is having the right tools. If you want to work with steel studs, this means you will need a couple of special tools. If you don’t own it, don’t panic. There are some specialized rental stores where you can get what you need. Here’s a list of the tools you should use:
- Hammer drill;
- Metal cut-on saw;
- Screw gun;
- Chalk box;
- Laser level/ plumb bob;
4. See How Many Studs You Need
The next step in learning how to build an outdoor kitchen with metal studs by yourself is to assess how many studs you need. Usually, people use 1 stud every 12 inches (300 mm), especially when they are building a wall. Steel plates (also known as tracks) are used for the bottom and top of the construction, so you might need these as well.
5. Use Chalk to Draw the Lines
Chalk is useful for deciding where does each piece of furniture or stud go. If you’re building on a floor, you can use chalk to see the area you will need. Marking your limits on surfaces will come in handy later, when you will need to cut, saw, stick, etc.
6. Screw In the Tracks
If you look up how to build an outdoor kitchen with metal studs, you’ll see that you should begin by screwing in the lower tracks. Follow the chalk lines you drew before and position the lower tracks. These are bigger and, therefore, more useful in supporting the weight of the entire project. You will need to drill a hole first into the stud and track. Next, you need to fasten them with a screw. If you’re drilling the hole through concrete, then you should probably use a hammer drill or a power nailer to be done with it faster.
When you’re laying the track, you should negotiate the long straight lines and the corners. Flatten the side flange of the first track and let the overlapping one slide easily into its place if you need to overlap corners. At the same time, if you’re using straight runs that are longer, overlap the tracks for at least 6 inches. Finally, secure it with a concrete screw if you want to hold it down to the floor. These extra measures help you have a more secure structure.
7. Plumb the First Track
The upper and lower tracks are, perhaps, the most important ones. They need to be plumb, and for this you should use a plumb bob, a laser level, or two water levels. If you want to use a laser level, just put it in the bottom middle of the track. Many contractors suggest using a laser level whenever you need it since it’s easier to use and efficient. A plumb bob works in a pretty similar way.
8. Trim the Steel Studs
The next step in our guide on how to build an outdoor kitchen with metal studs is to adjust the studs. You may want to use some aviation snips for this task. Simply bend one flange of the stud up and then cut it with the snips’ jaws. If you know you are going to include some plumbing installations or electrical ones, you should cut all the studs from the same end. While doing this heavy work, you should protect your hands with some heavy-duty gloves.
If you want to cut several pieces simultaneously, you should use a miter saw that has a metal cutting blade. There is also another way to cut the studs easier. First, score the studs with a utility knife both on the front and back. Then, bend it back and forth until the stud will break apart.
9. Join the Studs to Tracks
Using the C-clamp locking pliers, join the studs to tracks. Use the medium speed to insert a No. 8 pan-head screw right in the middle. The screw shouldn’t measure less than ½ inches. However, there is a challenge here. You should go for a clutch setting that can drive the screw where it should be, but not that strong to strip the hole, otherwise, you will have a weak joint.
10. Make Some Metal Headers
This can be useful if you have some unusual shapes with your furniture or hardware. Cut the track 2 inches longer than the opening width. Each flange of the track should have a length of 1 inch (2.5 cm). Next, bend the web 90 degrees down with the help of some sheet metal locking pliers.
11. Pour Concrete
Depending on the type of kitchen you want to have in the end, you can pour some concrete into the frame. This ensures that the kitchen will last longer, as opposed to other materials. Alternatively, you can already use some concrete panels. A cheaper option would be to use plywood or wooden panels, but they are not as resistant. However, if you don’t have enough cash to spend on this, it will do.
12. Pull the Electrical Cables
Whether you do it now or later, you will need to pull some electrical cables through the structure. For this reason, consult the blueprint you designed initially. A plastic bushing placed into each knockout is helpful because it doesn’t allow the cable to rub against the metal sharp edges. Use plastic ties that are screwed to the studs for the best results.
13. Wood Blocking
In case there are any spaces that are not covered, you might want to use some wood blocking. Maybe some walls remain uncovered or you just want to give the entire thing a new air. Either way, some wood blocking can go a long way.
14. Add Counters and Veneers
Naturally, the last step in our guide on how to build an outdoor kitchen with metal studs is to add the countertops and the veneers. Usually, people seem to prefer granite counters for being sturdier. Finally, you should use a veneer you love: tiles, stones, stucco, or combining them all. It’s important to use sturdy materials since the kitchen will be outdoors all the time.
15. Take Care of Your New Metal Kitchen
Once you install all the hardware, all you need to do is to enjoy your outdoor kitchen. It’s good that you take some prevention measures as well. For instance, if you used wood, you should use some wood stain to make sure it lasts longer. Finally, there are plenty of possibilities for your outdoor kitchen: install a grill, a charcoal rotisserie, a wood-fired pizza oven, a smoker, etc. If you also have kids, you may want to use the best outdoor playsets for them to keep busy while you’re cooking.
All in all, it’s not that complicated to learn how to build an outdoor kitchen with metal studs. However, it does take quite a while, depending on your preferences as well. For this reason, many prefer to hire a contractor or to buy a ready-made outdoor kitchen. Even so, nothing compares to the satisfaction you have when you see something you built yourself in the garden.
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